Judge Appoints OPD Critic to Powerful Post - NBC Bay Area

Judge Appoints OPD Critic to Powerful Post



    Neighbors are taking steps to make their streets safe in Oakland by hiring private security, as reform efforts by Compliance Director Tom Frazier and Consultant William Bratton are underway. Jodi Hernandez reports. (Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013)

    A former San Jose deputy chief  - and a big critic of Oakland's police department  - has been named to oversee the department's sputtering reform drive.

    On Monday, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson appointed Thomas Frazier to the powerful new post of compliance director.
    Frazier, who also was the former Baltimore Police Commissioner, will have a lot of power, including authority to spend city money and overrule top commanders, to get Oakland police to fully satisfy reforms that were supposed to be completed five years ago in the wake of what's now known as the Riders scandal.
    Henderson ordered the city to pay Frazier $270,000 per year -- a higher salary than Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan's. Frazier will start work March 11.
    Frazier will do his job, as the city has also hired Bill Bratton, former police chief in both Los Angeles and New York, to also consult with Oakland on police reforms and better policing strategies.
    City leaders agreed to relinquish much of its say over its police department in December as part of an agreement with attorneys who represented 119 plaintiffs in a civil suit connected with the 1999 Riders police brutality scandal. If the city hadn't agreed to this compromise, it risked the judge ordering a total federal takeover of the department.
    Since 2001, Frazier has headed The Frazier Group, LLC, a police consulting firm. From 1999-2001 he directed the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Before that, he served five years as Baltimore's chief and worked for 27 years in San Jose's police department.
    NBC Bay Area was among the first to report about the much anticipated Frazier Report in June.

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